There is a good chance no one was looking forward to Monday night's game more than Will Beatty. Not because it was against the Eagles, for first place in the NFC East and a chance to avenge a humiliating loss at Lincoln Financial Field last year.
It's more about what comes after it.
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When the Giants return from Philadelphia -- win or lose -- Beatty will have his first opportunity to get back on the field with his teammates since he tore a pectoral muscle working out in the spring. He's been on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, isolated from the squad and recovering from surgery.
And now? "The wait is over," Beatty told Newsday.
At least the waiting for the wait is. The Giants have a three-week window to get him onto the practice field for the first time, starting this week. Once he does, there's another three-week window to put him on the 53-man roster.
Beatty doesn't know exactly what will happen, if he'll be practicing or still rehabbing.
"I did everything I could to get out there on the field healthwise and conditioning-wise," he said. "I've been hitting the targets, no setbacks. Now it's time for the next step. But I haven't been through this before, so I can't tell you what's going to happen. They haven't given me too much information other than there is a Monday night game, we'll be back on Tuesday, and get ready to go."
The next practice is Wednesday, and Beatty will be eligible.
This isn't Beatty's first serious injury, but it is the first he's coming back from during the same season. He suffered a detached retina in 2011 that put him on injured reserve and a broken leg in the 2013 season finale.
Being on PUP is different than being on IR, though.
"Everything is off to the corner and in the back, one-on-one with the trainers," Beatty said of his work within shouting distance of the rest of the team but miles away from their activities. "Each injury is different, they take their toll on you mentally, but you don't know what you can handle until you go through it. I'm trying to take as much as I can from this to benefit me."
Once Beatty does return, the question becomes how he can benefit the team. He seems to have lost his job at left tackle to rookie Ereck Flowers, who has filled in admirably. Marshall Newhouse had struggles early but seems to be playing better.
Penciled in as a key player before his injury, Beatty has to find a role. It may start as an extra blocker on run plays or situational plays. It seems unlikely the Giants will break up their group just because Beatty is back, considering he hasn't blocked anyone in full pads since the end of last season.
"You go out there winning games and something is working," he said of the unit that helped the Giants win three in a row before the game against the Eagles. "Now it's 'How do I get out here and add to what we already have?' That's what I want to do. I want to add to our depth and to our arsenal. I have to make sure I'm ready so I am that positive thing coming back and not a negative."
Beatty has one year left on his contract after this, but many don't expect him to be a Giant next season with a hefty $6.625-million base salary and $9.175-million cap number for 2016, never mind the development of Flowers.
For now, that's not the future Beatty is worried about.
"If I try to think too far ahead, then I'm missing where I want to be," he said. "I'm thankful to be out here and still have a chance and still play and not say my career is over. These are all positive things. Now I just have to go out there and give them my best.
"It's a blessing to be out here, it's a blessing to still be on this team for as long as I have. I'm not taking it lightly. It's uncharted water, but all I know is that if I give them my best effort, if I put my best foot forward, I'll be all right."
Notes & quotes: WR Odell Beckham Jr., who missed all of the Giants' practices with a hamstring injury and was listed as questionable, played in the game. So did WR Rueben Randle, who also was dealing with a hamstring . . . LB Jon Beason was active after suffering a concussion last week . . . DE Robert Ayers (hamstring), CB Trumaine McBride (groin, illness), OL Bobby Hart and DT Louis Nix were inactive, as were WR Victor Cruz (calf), CB Prince Amukamara (pectoral) and LB Devon Kennard (hamstring).